This speaker was invited to give the keynote address at the fall 2005 Doodle Train but was unable to attend due to complications from hurricane Katrina. The story is told of his flight from New Orleans, the loss of his house, his journey to Lafayette, and his subsequent efforts to contribute to the geophysical community there, including its university and state-of-the art LITE facility (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise).
Our North American exploration and production geophysical community is also facing an impending storm: We have a buildup of geophysicists in their late forties, many of whom will be leaving the field within the next five to ten years. Some solutions are discussed toward improving this situation, including: creating an environment in which experienced staff are well utilized and wish to work longer; attracting the best and brightest students to work as geophysicists irrespective of their parent discipline or visa status; fostering our discipline within our companies to ensure that the right staff with the right skills and resources are deployed on the right projects at the right time; integrating our technologies better into the overall E&P workflow with other scientific and engineering disciplines; building creative alliances between oil & gas companies, service companies, universities, technology centers and other entities; and engaging staff globally to best impact our business. As a community, we too truly need to move out of the darkness and into the light.
About the Author(s)
Alan J. Cohen, Ph.D., is a geophysical consultant and Adjunct Professor in the Geology Department of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he teaches a class on the “Rock Properties Basis for Seismic Attribute Interpretation.” He has over thirty years of oil industry experience. He worked at Royal Dutch Shell, both in North America and Europe, in various leadership and technical positions, including a posting as Chief Geophysicist for the Western Hemisphere from 2003 to 2005. As a leader he concentrated on the health of the geophysical discipline, the value of subsurface technology and the impact of such technology on heath, safety and the environment.
His areas of technical expertise include rock physics, pore pressure prediction, quantitative seismic interpretation, reservoir geophysics and other branches of the geosciences.
Prior to becoming a geophysicist, he was trained in chemical and solid state physics at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in 1976, and before that as a chemist at McGill University where he received his B.Sc. degree in 1972.
Cohen serves on the SEG Development and Production Committee and is First Vice President of SWLGS (the Southwest Louisiana Geophysical Society). He has also helped to introduce oil industry staff to the state-of-the art LITE immersive technologies facility in Lafayette.